body language | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service – 4/30/24

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it.

If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand)

Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often impacts the other person as much or more as WHAT words are used.

So, let’s use this truth to our advantage.  Confidence in customer service is an important discussion because we’re trying to instill confidence in the other person about what’s being shared.  The more they are confident in what we share, the more they’ll take our guidance, the more comfortable they will feel.  And the more confident they are in what we share, the less likely they’ll ask more questions, the less likely they’ll “answer shop.”

Here are some tips to instill confidence beyond the words you use:

  • Convey Calmness – Unless you’re going the enthusiasm route, exude a certain confidence by conveying calmness in your hand movements and their position when talking.
  • Use Brevity – Don’t drone on when a simple “Yes” is the real answer.
  • Add Some Inflection – Have variability in your tone when you want to ensure that your statement comes across like it’s from the heart, not from a script.
  • Avoid the Long Pauses – The “umms” and “uhhs” convey indecision and lack of certainty. If you are unsure of an answer momentarily, restate the question back to them to buy yourself some time, then directly move to the answer.
  • Complement Your Words with Your Body Language – Nod when saying something affirmative. Offer eye contact to show your intent on your answer and your customer.  Maintain good posture to show you’re assured of yourself and your statements.

 
To deliver great customer service, you not only need to have the right knowledge of your customer, policies, procedures, and products, but you need to confidently convey that information.

Master Confidence in Customer Service.

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De-escalating Conflict in Customer Service – 4/25/23

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Conflict can be very healthy and productive.  You and your customer are taking different perspectives, but if you have the same goal and you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, the different perspectives may lead to an interesting approach or a mutually-beneficial solution.

If the decision was up to us, we might have one solution.  If the decision was up to the customer, they might have a second solution – and neither solution may work for the other.  But maybe there’s a 3rd or 4th or 5th solution – some of which may be workable for both.  Those solutions are determined through Healthy Conflict – leveraging the different perspectives and opinions to get to collective solutions.

Perspectives v. Positions

Where differences exist, conflict is often uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, when people have different perspectives, they can turn into different positions.  And when we start focusing on our position, that’s when our negative passions can rise, and the conversation can become personal.  It can overshadow the main issue or what potential solutions may exist for the situation.

Healthy Conflict v. Combat

So here are some ways to de-escalate conflict so it doesn’t become combat:

Avoid You: Focus on the specific issue, trying to talk less about the people involved and talk more about the process, the policy, the product, the facility.  Avoid the use of the word You to avoid making things personal, and try not to take comments too personally.

Set the Goal: Identify a common goal – even if it’s somewhat general.  It’s easier to determine a common solution if you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in the end.

Be Self-aware: Be cognizant of tone and body language as you’re sharing the words, as these affect the emotions as much or more than what is actually being said.

Empathize: Get on the same side of the table with them, even literally at times.  Provide empathy, conveying some understanding of their perspective, asking questions and listening rather than interrupting or talking over the other person.

As we’ve often said, it’s much easier and quicker to deal with issues if negative emotion is not involved.

Deescalate conflict in customer service.

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Being the Emphatic Employee – 9/6/22

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Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often – what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel.

But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how to be emphatic.  There are many times when the customer lacks confidence or clarity, they are uncertain or anxious.  And it is part of our role to build that confidence, convey more clarity, and offer certainty to help overcome the anxiety.

To fulfill that role in our conversation with our customers, we can be emphatic with our words.  For example, it’s more emphatic to say “I will do ABC…” than to say “I think we can do ABC…”   It’s better to say “This will definitely help” than to say “This should help.”

It’s better to give a shorter answer than a longer answer.  It’s better to say “Yes,” then go into the description.  That immediately answers the question, emphatically.  That’s preferable to saying “There are a lot of different factors that come into play and for this particular situation…”  Again, we’re trying to create certainty and clarity.  It’s easier to be clear in a 3-word answer than in a 33-word response where the answer is somewhat hidden in the statement.

To be emphatic, think about more eye contact, more nods.  You’re reaffirming what you’re saying while you’re saying it.  Have body language that is complementary.  Use good posture, have more concise arm and hand movements just like your wording is more concise.

You can be positive while being emphatic to build confidence, convey clarity, and offer certainty to overcome anxiety.

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